The Politics of Dignity Violations
Suzy Killmister (Monash University)

March 29, 2018, 4:15pm - 6:15pm
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne

Jim Potter Room, Old Physics
University of Melbourne
Melbourne 3010
Australia

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This paper focuses on what I call 'personal dignity' - this is a kind of dignity we can have more or less of, depending on our success at avoiding doing or being things we take to be debasing. In particular, I'll be exploring the politics of dignity violations. On my framework, to violate someone's personal dignity is to force her to do or be something she takes to be debasing. So for many of us, it would be a violation of our dignity if we were forced to strip naked in public, or if we were forced to grovel to a government bureaucrat in order to secure life's necessities. The question I'll be trying to answer is what the scope our right not to have our personal dignity violated might be. Or to put the same question another way: under what conditions are we entitled to make claims on others that they refrain from forcing us to do or be something we take to be debasing? 

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